ICT is a term that has been around for some years now, but not everybody is quite clear on what exactly it means. While some of us know that it stands for Information Communications Technology, there is still a level of mystery to the term that eludes understanding.
The reason behind this is that there isn’t a fully agreed-upon definition to what, precisely, ICT is. That’s because everything to do with ICT – its concepts, methods and applications – are changing constantly, meaning it’s impossible to pin down an adequate definition before that definition would need to be amended to apply to the term’s evolution. This isn’t particularly useful when it comes to trying to understand what the term is all about, but thankfully there are some explanations of ICT that will never change.
ICT refers to any product that deals with electronic information. This could be hardware or software, so personal computers and e-mails both fall under the same term as they both deal with electronic information, albeit in different ways. ICT incorporates products that store, receive, manipulate, transmit or retrieve digital information under a single umbrella.
In this way, you can consider the term to refer to anything to do with computers and computing – basically anything to do with digital information in whatever form it takes. This includes software running both online and off, so internet programmes apply as well as offline software such as Word, Office and PowerPoint. As long as the product deals with digital information, it is considered to be under the ICT umbrella term.
ICT is a huge part of our everyday lives. We use computers and electronic information for so many things, from organising our social lives and keeping up with friends through e-mail, instant messaging and social networking sites to running large-scale businesses that generate millions of pounds of revenue every year. Think of sites like Amazon and supermarkets’ online stores – without the amazing capabilities of ICT, neither of these would exist or make the money they do.
Computers are used to compose letters, write novels, upload and e-mail photographs, connect with individuals from the other side of the world and share news stories, discover new cultures and donate to charities.
So many products fall under ICT, from PCs to interactive whiteboards and the latest eBook reader that it’s no surprise the term’s meaning is constantly evolving.
Just remember that it will always refer to the dealing of electronic information and you’ll never stray too far from ICT’s truest sense!